Friday, June 30, 2017

How did that happen?

Sorry I dropped off the face of the blog planet for a while.  I can't even give you a good reason why other than brain fatigue, insanity at work, lack of vitamin M (for motivation)....I don't have any good excuses other than - it's summer??

We are all still alive and well and the donkeys are here to prove it, although, watching this video, I see that I have to get even meaner about the donkey diet.  That should go over well:)

I will try to do better.  I know this weekend will be full of travel and craziness for many people.  Have a fun and safe holiday and look out for your animals because this week is hard on them.  I know I will be here on my hill trying to convince my border collie that we are not under attack.  I know he won't believe me and, given how crazy the world is these days, it keeps getting harder and harder to prove that we aren't.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sweet Summer Dreams

Ahhhh, I can just imagine racing across the snow covered plains, the wind in my hair, the ground thudding beneath my pounding hooves, my friends beside me and the wild, woolly bison scattering before us on the vast, endless, open prairie....

....or maybe soaring around the racecourse, the steeple jumps rising and falling below me, nothing but air passing beneath my hooves and flowing through my mane, keenly flying toward the next and the next, faster than the wind...

...or maybe out grazing on a cool, crisp, Fall morning; the sun so bright, the air so fresh and a little breeze playing with my hair...

...a deer pops into the field and it is a good excuse to leap and buck and run off into the wind, flying, always flying into the wind....

Then again.....maybe I'll just stay here in front of the fan and call it a day.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Boy

I know after I posted pictures of the two grays hanging out together that some were concerned that maybe poor, little Ramsey had gotten left out.  Rest assured, cause it ain't so.  In fact this is still the most common configuration of the herd...

Ben and Emma get along well and both enjoy occasionally slipping off for a quiet conversation.  However, Emma and Ramsey remain inseparable.

Ramsey and Ben have a bit of sibling rivalry going on.  Or maybe it's more that seeing his mom hanging out with a handsome older fellow tends to put a kink in Ramsey's ears.  That's always the way it is when a young, single mom starts thinking about dating again right?

Ramsey likes to think he is the big man on the hill and occasionally tries to push Ben around.  Ben generally ignores this unless there is food involved.  If it comes down to a matter of inference with dinner, Ben becomes a tiger.  He gives Ramsey the evil eye and Ramsey suddenly remembers that he is the poor, poor, pitiful, put-upon baby donkey and comes looking for me to provide back-up.  He comes up next to me and leans into my hip and gets a sudden infusion of bravery.

Which is why there are always two nets filled with hay, guaranteed escape routes for big and small, and assigned seats at the dinner table.

And, lest you think it is all squabbles and fights, every morning after breakfast, is scratching time.  If I can get everybody to line up just right I can manage with only two hands.  If I scratch Tessa, she will start to groom Emma or Ramsey.  If I scratch Ben, he will do the same and suddenly, all the little quarrels disappear and it is one big happy family - our daily love fest.

All-in-all, the poor, poor, pitiful, put-upon baby donkey is still fairly sure that he is the center of the universe.

It's a Hard Life

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Meanderings of an Overheated Brain

It was a blistering hot day filled with barn cleaning, hoof trimming and lamb wrestling.  Once a year Farm Buddy and I have to get together to manhandle the lambs and castrate all the males.  We opted to skip this procedure once and we both swore never, ever again.  Having 12-15 rowdy ram lambs running loose around the farm, wreaking havoc, fighting and trying to hump anything and everything, whether it moves or not, is an experience we do not wish to repeat.

So, once a year, we herd all the sheep into a pen and set about capturing the lambs.  Catching lambs is a bit like catching fish by wading out into a pool full of fish and grabbing them with your bare hands.  The lambs swirl around, leaping and flashing in a confusing woolly whirlpool. Unlike the fish, there is also a great deal of dust and sweat.  I find that the best way to catch them is to slowly wade into the fray and then grab one as it whizzes by.

It's too bad no one was around with a camera because it was probably quite a sight.

Katarina was kicked out for this job and she was some mad at us for abusing her sheeps.

She paced around outside the windows humming her protest and watching us like a hawk

She would have dearly liked to spit at us.

"Free my sheeps!"

We like to do this job when the lambs are still quite small because....well, not to be indelicate, but - sheep have the most absurdly large testicles of any animal on the farm.  A four month old lamb could make a 2000 lb bull blush with shame if they actually cared about that sort of thing.

The problem is, this is a job that is very easy to procrastinate about and lambs grow really fast.  I mean really, who wouldn't want to spend a hot, dusty, chaotic hour chasing and castrating lambs???

Us, apparently.

This is not a job that gets easier with time tough.  Let's just say that: the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  Today was the day.

Sheep are not exactly renowned for their bravery, strength, intelligence or fortitude and, every year, I find myself pondering exactly why so many men seem to think there is a correlation between any of these traits and scrotal size.  We've all heard the comments of course:

....He must have a set of big ol'e brass ones...
....Wow, that guy sure has got a set....
....Grow a pair!...
....He has got the biggest....

The oddity and foreignness of the male psyche is baffling.

And...given the way this blog post has veered sooooo far afield, my brain clearly got overheated today.  Time to call it a night.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Compass Points

Several people have asked how the boys are getting along with each other these days.  The answer is...pretty well.  They all hang out together and share their space with each other.  There is no real squabbling, pushing or shoving.

With three donkeys and one horse, the differences between the way horses think and the way donkeys think is more noticeable.  Not that it is a problem, the donkeys all like and respect Tessa.  They generally let her think that she is the boss while they all go on about their own business, which Tessa is blithely oblivious to.

Ben and Ramsey have a sort of truce, but I would not call them buddies.  Maybe they are too much alike.  Ramsey still thinks of Ben as the interloper and Ben still thinks Ramsey is an annoying pipsqueak.  They are both jealous of my attention.

Ben very much likes being a part of the herd and he keeps close to everyone.  He and Emma get along quite well and he is a little enamored of Tessa.  He is a bit intimidated by her, but he also likes to stick close to her.

My four compass points in their standard configuration...

All in all, it is a nice little herd with a few personality quirks, but no drama.  The donkeys all work things out and Tessa remains blissfully content in her own little universe.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Yet Another Parking Garage

It's happening all the time all over the country - good farm land being swallowed up by urban sprawl and paved over for strip malls, parking lots and housing developments.  It's a terrible tragedy and, would you believe it?  It's actually happened right here, in my own back yard.

The chicken coop, which started out as a guinea coop until all the guineas got eaten by coyotes, which then became a greenhouse that I didn't have time to use, which then turned into a chicken now a parking garage.

There are only two chickens left now.  The Black Australorp, the one I called the Godmother, decided that she absolutely had to raise some babies and got all broody.  There were two really big problems with this plan though: first, there is no rooster here so none of the eggs are fertile.  Second, and an even larger obstacle than immaculate conception, is the fact that the hen was setting on an empty nest.  No eggs at all.  Totally, completely empty.

I tried to dissuade the Godmother from her futile endeavors, but she was having none of it.  I kept shooing her off the nest and leaving obstacles in her place, such as a five gallon bucket.  She moved the bucket and went back to incubating invisible eggs.  

And then - a miracle, the stork arrived!

Farm Buddy had ordered some baby chicks and it is always better for babies to have a mother so the Godmother went over to her farm to raise them.  This was accomplished by my hastily cramming the hen in a box and taking her over to Farm Buddy's where she was ensconced in a quiet stall.  That night, Farm Buddy sneaked in well after dark and stuffed all the babies under the Godmother's wings where they would be nice and warm.

In the morning - viola!

The Godmother wakes up to find that all of her immaculately conceived, imaginary eggs have "hatched" into a brood of fluffy chicks.  The Godmother is now a mom thanks to a delivery from the stork by way of the US postal service.

As for the other missing hen, one of the speckled wyandottes.....well, she met with a more tragic fate.  Somebody ate her.  It might have been Lucy, the stray dog, or possibly a fox.

I can't say as I begrudge a starving dog a chicken dinner and I can't blame a fox for being a fox.  While I am not happy about the loss of a hen, I confess that my sympathies often lie with the predators.  Everyone likes to eat chicken after all, right?  I certainly do.

So, that leaves just the two hens, Thug One and the Red-Headed-Step-Child (and just in case anyone thinks I am maligning red-heads, you should know that I am one and I have had to deal with a great deal of maligning throughout my life because of it).

Thug One and the RHSC have shunned the chicken coop ever since the night of the murder and have moved into the hay shed, which left the coop vacant.  Real Estate dose not stay vacant around her for long and a developer has already swooped in and converted the guinea coop/greenhouse/chicken coop into a parking garage for the sports car.  It's a perfect fit.